Your Guise Circa 2015


 

From 2012 till around 2015 Guise provided readers with 'behind the seams' interviews and profiles aimed at industry professionals working within film, theatre, opera, dance, art, fashion and music.

Content is from the site's 2015 section called Your Guise archived pages.

 

About Us

Offering unique and informed insights into the world of costume and the designers that inhabit it, Guise is aimed at industry professionals working within film, theatre, opera, dance, art, fashion and music. Providing readers with 'behind the seams' interviews and profiles, we are the only magazine that has a focus on costume design in all aspects of performance.

 


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The Long And Very Bumpy Fashion Road

 

Viv

Words by Vivienne Masters

Viv

Let me begin by introducing myself, I am a twenty-something, Freelance Fashion Stylist and Costume Designer currently living in London, England. I do not have a full time job in my dream career in one of the world’s most expensive, overloaded, yet exceptionally thrilling and culturally diverse cities in the world. But don’t for one second feel sorry for me.

Let’s go back a bit.

If you grew up in the 90’s you will have grown up with a lot of expectations of your life ahead, you may have had a grandparent who grew up in the war, with tales of hard work and suffering, somehow seemingly getting pleasure out of telling you that YOU have it good. You may have had a parent who because of their tough upbringing were given no special treatment and only had a handful of options (especially as a woman). Now here you are, born and bred with your parents instilling all of their hopes and dreams into you, spending your GCSE year being fed the same lines over about what choices you have in your future and what the world has to offer. Does this all sound familiar?

Aged 18, I had successfully completed my GCSEs, AS levels and A-level exams and coursework, hating it every step of the way. I then enrolled onto a high recommended Art and Design Foundation Course at Blackpool and The Fylde College, which I was told was the best thing to do as I was 'lacking in creative direction'. I studied, met strangely eccentric and relatively relatable people and can honestly say that it was the BEST year in education I had ever had. I DO recommend this programme to anyone creative - from the career savvy to the serially unsure. My time there taught me more than I thought it would and the now tutors opened up a world of creative possibilities.

It's now so interesting to me that throughout my education from one exam to the next and from teacher to tutor, there was always the hope that in my future career/life I WOULD be a success. There was nothing but success mapped out ahead of me. No one thought to doubt me and my skills. No one quite laid it out there in the open and said “You know, it may never happen.”

After one month of studying Interior Design in Manchester, I realised I didn't want to be there. I then returned home and did the next clichéd thing that was left to do :  I went travelling.

Aged 20, I went to live on a kibbutz in a desert in Israel. It definitely helped. I had time to think about what I had to offer the world, to philosophise, debate, navigate and map out in my own mind what exactly I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to experience the Fashion world and see if I could make any kind of noticeable mark on it so that was what I did. I met someone travelling and moved to Canada, starting at the bottom on one of a number of internships at Toronta Fashion Week.

From organising my first Fashion Week to working with some emerging designers to being seen on MTV and gaining a name for myself as the very 'dependable' intern, I loved the lifestyle but I couldn’t see the end goal anywhere in sight – actually getting paid and having a Fashion job. It actually took another four years of unpaid toil after that to finally begin being paid to do what I love.

This all sounds negative, but I genuinely do believe that you CAN get to where you need to be if you hang in there and adapt. I've come to find that personality really is key. You can do almost anything if you have the confidence. Then you use that confidence to make the right connections. London lends itself fairly well to this. London is one of the best places in the world to see what is happening in the creative industries. It's not the only place you can be successful and of course unless your parents are bank rolling you, you will find it hard in London financially, but I do believe to experience life here is an important and almost mandatory part of building a successful career in the fashion industry. If anything, it will teach you that you can actually survive in one of the world’s most incredible cities and you will be just fine.

During three years at university studying Fashion Design I interned at many, many places. I interned at Now magazine and Closer magazine because I wanted to gain an insight into the editorial world, which helped me decide to become a freelance stylist.

I exhausted all the areas in Fashion I could, I worked back stage at London Fashion Week, I tried my hand at sewing a collection, worked at ITV on short films and feature films and by the end of all of this, I knew that I needed to call the shots. I did some test shoots and collaborated with some great photographers and models. I became the Fashion Stylist I wanted to be and now I even have an assistant. Editors now come to me for my ideas and input. No one ever told me how long it would take to get to where I am now but I'm glad I did hang in there...

 


 

Gabriella Gerdelic - Armour

Cropped

On our radar this month is Gabriella Gerdelic, a recent graduate of MA costume design at London College of Fashion.

On our radar this month is Gabriella Gerdelic, a recent graduate of MA costume design at London College of Fashion. The course, run by Donatella Barbieri and Agnes Treplin, focuses on costume within a performance. Unlike fashion, costume is constituted in the moment of performance and its main purpose is to be used within a performance. The course then, teaches these designers to work with their costumes as if they are a performance in themselves. Forget pomp and petticoats, the LCF grads are pushing boundaries, creating conceptual pieces that cross between costume / fashion and performance art.

We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek behind the scenes at Gabriella's designs before the final MA showcase at Sadlers Wells in December. Gabriella’s costume, worn by dancer Iannina Kajangas, is an exploration into the social interaction that we have with dressing the body. “It’s a protective armour,” says the designer of the conceptual piece she has created. It is flexible, can be moulded into any number of positions, creating personality and character in its many forms. It reflects the various adjustments we make to our outward appearance through dress, dependent on our social situation. The piece exists as an artistic expression of an idea – it’s a metaphor for the many changes we undergo to fit with our environment. Most impressive.

 


 

Charlotte Young Costume

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Freelance designer and stylist *Charlotte Young

Freelance designer and stylist Charlotte Young is certainly one to watch in the costume industry. Having worked on a number of intriguing creative projects - including various theatrical productions, music videos and the interactive cinematic experience 'Secret Cinema' and 'Future Cinema' events, Young is slowly but surely climbing the ladder to costume success. A constant list of jobs is hard to come by when you're starting out in the costume industry but Young's CV boasts an extensive list of jobs, with plenty taking up her time. As well as her obvious aptitude for costume design and making, Charlotte is a talented artist. We're particularly taken by her sketch book - half illustration, half mood board - a visual costume collage.

 


 

Fashion Fusion

 

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Costume Designer-cum-Stylist Olivia Rose Hulme 

Olivia Rose Hulme - Fashioning Film

As London Fashion Week dominates news in September, we see that fashion is a definitive part of our culture. Picking out an outfit is a daily necessity. After all, even those that claim to abhor fashion must get dressed in the morning. The process of dressing the body is and has been a part of our lives dating back thousands of years. Before clothes were adornments made out of found materials or the tooth of an animal killed for dinner. Since then humanity has seen endless manipulations of material into garment, each piece detailing a moment in history. It is a costume designer’s job to peer into these fragments of time and recreate what once was. Olivia Rose Hulme, a costume designer in training at Edinburgh College of Art gives us an insight into the re-appropriation of what has gone before and how that translates to theatre, film and television.

The breadth of possibility within the field of costume design is endless. Period dramas like Downton Abbey and classic Jacobean plays continue to be popular with audiences while plays set in the 20th Century in which fashion varied considerably are constantly being re-staged. An addition to the somewhat lengthy list is contemporary drama that allows for an exploration into fast-fashion and the consumerist culture of the 21st Century.  With so much to choose from, I wonder which time frame and context (film / T.V / theatre) Olivia is most inclined to. “I’ve been really lucky to have had the opportunity to design costumes and stage designs from various eras I’m interested in. So far I’ve designed for plays set in the 1930s, Ancient Greece, 18th Century and modern-day. I love designing for any period and learning why it was fashionable to wear say, a corset or a doublet. The most fun is applying your own interpretation as a designer to your final idea. I feel working say, in an opera house or in film would be the most rewarding field of costume to work in – being part of such a huge production, either living in theatre or working on a set with a team of people as passionate about costume as yourself is an exciting prospect.” Citing designer Coleen Atwood as her inspiration for wanting to design for film, Olivia is unashamedly enthusiastic about her craft. 

Unlike the collection of a contemporary fashion designer, the costume designer has her muse and a historic period prescribed to her. If a director wants to set A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the 1980s, then the costume designer must follow suit, despite an aversion to puffballs and acid pink. Does this cripple the designer’s creative outlet? Olivia puts a good spin on it. “I keep up with the latest fashion designers and collections to see which are the latest trends and apply what I like and what will work with my historical research to give my final designs a contemporary twist. I’m very inspired by contemporary fashion designers like McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Christian Lacroix and Galliano. Also a lot of couture fashion, it holds so many theatrical elements and that’s inspiring. Fashion catwalks give me ideas about how I’d want to stage a play, especially McQueen’s shows which were mind blowing.” Passionate as she is about today’s sartorial innovations, Olivia doesn’t neglect to mention the significance of in depth historical research either.  “I like beginning each project by researching the era I intend to design the costumes for as much as possible. It can give me a better sense of how the characters may have acted or how they felt wearing a certain piece. For instance a corset made from whalebone would affect the character’s posture, expression and emotion. I work best by collecting images and creating mood boards, blogs and sketches of historical costume, fashion designers, locations, scenery – this all accumulates into creating my final designs.” By marrying both old and new then, Olivia aspires to create innovative costume that carries with it an imprint of her own inspired taste. 

So while fashion is forever changing and designers like Christopher Kane, Louise Gray and Mary Katrantzou are trying to produce innovative collections, costume designers also hope to infuse their pieces with a sense of the new, regardless of the historical context. Olivia maintains that designing period costume can be just as exciting and innovative as designing for the London Fashion Week runways. “Part of being a designer is being influenced by other artists. When so much has already been achieved through fashion it is a challenge to create something original. A lot of the uniqueness in costume design simply comes down to you as an individual. You need to add your own personal touch or style to a costume so that it holds its own individuality! Having your own unique style that is instantly recognisable is a great talent to possess, its important if you want to be a costume designer to have that.” 

There’s no doubt that this costume designer has a firm hold over her own stylistic individuality. Just a glance at Olivia’s illustrations indicates her strong personality as a designer. Her sketches are technically subversive, straying from the typical, possessing a darker, intriguing aesthetic unusual to the field of fashion illustration.

Is this intentional? Apparently not. “I don’t make them appear to have a darker aesthetic although I do get a lot of comments like that!  I was actually told by my foundation life-drawing teacher that drawing wasn’t my strongest point as it was taught very precise and exact to the figure. I tried really hard back then to draw exactly what I saw in front of me but they always ended up coming out like how they do. It was frustrating at first as everyone’s drawings were picture perfect, but at ECA my style was encouraged and that’s really how my illustrations came about. Our life drawing sessions are basically a fancy dress opportunity; we decorate the model with props, hats, fabrics, toys and make our drawings as expressive as possible. I love using fun materials like collage to create more realistic elements.” Thankfully Olivia’s creative license has been given full reign. With the art of fashion illustration experiencing a revival in today’s press (check out Rankin’s new mag Hunger and fashion illustration magazine DASH), this lady’s penchant for pencil and paper could come in very handy. 

With so many modes of creative output available to Olivia, it’s hard to pin point exactly where she might be in ten year’s time. Graduating from Edinburgh College of Art this summer will undoubtedly be the beginning of something beautiful, however unsure she is of what that beautiful thing might be. “I’m definitely feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves. I’m most excited about which creative field I’ll end up working in because so many elements of Performance Costume and Illustration interest me.  Building contacts and work experience is essential so I plan on working and gaining experience in opera houses and hopefully on film! I would love to move to London, or somewhere in Europe to do this.” Move on down to London town we say. Plenty of room for your type here Olivia.

 


 

Hidden Gems

andy

Costume Designer Alison Forbes-Meyler reveals the hidden gem she uncovered while working on the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

Costume Designer Alison Forbes-Meyler reveals the hidden gem she uncovered while working on the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies...

Last year I was lucky enough to be working as a costume supervisor on the London 2012 opening & closing ceremonies. For the opening ceremony of the Paralympics we wanted some show stopping pieces of jewellery for the leading artists.

Andy uses traditional methods to create these statement pieces, and his detailed craftsmanship always compliments the original costume design. He hand cuts metals rather than laser cutting, and painstakingly applies crystals to finish the piece. Although you can see classic influences he always manages to add a modern and witty twist to his work.

Amazingly Andy has had no formal training in jewellery making, but as with all true talents he has learnt through working with others and embracing old techniques, and is determined to keep these skills alive by using them in his own work.

Discovering an artist like Andy is a true find, a real hidden gem. To see more of Andys stunning work head over to his Flickr account.

Words by Alison Forbes-Meyler

 


 

Anouck Sablayrolles Costume Vs Fashion

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Anouck Sablayrolles is a French costume designer based in Dublin, Ireland.

Anouck Sablayrolles is a French costume designer based in Dublin, Ireland. Trained as a fashion designer and stylist, she has been building up her experience in costume design since 2009. She has worked on numerous Short Films ("Small Change" by Cathy Brady, "The 3d way" by Jean-Michel Tari, "Out there" by Randal Plunkett...), some Feature Films ("Charlie Casanova" by Terry McMahon, "Portrait of a Zombie" by Bing Bailey, "The Nixer" by Fiona Graham) and a few Commercials. She is currently working as a costume designer for independent productions and as a costume standby for larger productions.

Fashion design and costume design are often mistaken for one another. I have studied fashion design and styling and so have gained some experience in the fashion industry. for as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a fashion designer but once I started to work in the fashion industry, I realised it wasn’t for me. It just didn’t feel right. However, the desire to be creative, to work with fabrics, shapes, colours and patterns was deeply anchored in me.

My curiosity in filmmaking pushed me to send my application to a call crew. Despite having no experience, I got the job. I was lucky that someone would take the risk to hire me back then. After the wrap of my first costume job, I knew that I wanted to be a costume designer. I've been working in a costume department since then and I'm loving every minute of it.

In spite of my allegiance to costume design, I can't deny that fashion and costume are an inspiration to one another. The 1920s and 30s films inspired fashion designers for example. Every lady wanted the clothes worn by Greta Garbo or Katharine Hepburn and so the fashion industry followed suit. Another example is the film Fame, which incited an iconic fashion trend in the 1980s. Nowadays, TV shows like Mad Men inspire runway collections.

Similarly, costume designers refer to fashion whether they are designing for a period or a contemporary project. costume designers collaborate with fashion designers on projects - Catherine Martin with Prada for The Great Gatsby being a recent example. 

Still, costume design and fashion design are two distinctive disciplines. In fashion, the designer's focus is on the clothes, designed for a type of clientele. Clothes must be seen, they are related to a specific label and adhere to 'trends'. Fashion is about commerce.

In contrast, a costume designer creates not clothes but characters. Behind the scenes, the director gives his/her vision and the costume designer will collaborate with him/her, the production designer, the DP, the make-up artist and hair stylist to achieve one thing: telling the story. Costume is about underscoring a character and his/her arc throughout the film. But the film is only a particular moment of his/her life and costume must reflect that specific time. Every detail communicates and informs the audience of this character.

Costume and fashion are mediums of communications with two distinctive goals.

I personally am drawn toward costumes, designing a character and his/her emotions as opposed to simply creating pretty clothes. For the Academy Awards presentation in 1986, Audrey Hepburn said “...If clothes make the man, then certainly the costume designer makes the actor. The costume designer is not only essential but is vital, for it is they who create the look of the character without which no performance can succeed"

Words by Anouck Sablayrolles

 


 

Olivia Goes to the Ball

Costume Design Student Olivia Rose Hulme tells GUISE about her night of costume, fantasy and fairtytale at Harvey Nichols’ 10th birthday bash in Edinburgh...

To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, Harvey Nichols Edinburgh hosted an extravagant party themed around fairy tales this month. The womenswear floor was transformed into a surreal and twisted fairytale land while paintings of fashion royalty hung over everyone’s heads as a nod back to reality.

Costume Design students at the Edinburgh College of Art created fairytale characters for the evening, dressing them in various manifestations of fantastical frippery. Costumes varied from that of characters like Rose Red, the Frog Prince and the Little Mermaid, each one with intricate beading, embellishments, and hand dying. There were even rips in Rose Red’s (Little Red Riding Hood to you and I) dress where she ran through the forest, away from the big bad wolf.

Costume and fashion joined forces on this night. I even managed a chat with the very excitable Jonathan Saunders amongst the Harvey Nic’s dressing up box....

The event reaffirmed the store's status as Scotland’s ultimate luxury lifestyle shopping destination and promised showcased the work of some of Edinburgh’s best costume designers in the making....

 


 

Jeanie Muldownie - Fusing Fashion and Costume

Young designer Jeanie Muldownie talks to GUISE about her new collection, inspirations, designing fashion in Amsterdam and her theatrical inspirations...

The 'Stretch to Fit' collection you designed and created boasts bold-block colours, intricate fabric manipulation and a fine detail for small print. What was the inspiration behind it all?

I took inspiration from Erwin Wurm, an artist who uses the body as a prop in his artwork. I explored the agility of the body, seeing how it can be contained and stretched to its limits. From this I incorporated print detail, knitwear, lazering and tailoring for the collection 

Your past collections have possessed a theatrical quality with dramatic silhouettes and sharp tailoring, fusing the line between fashion and costume. Is this quality  through all of your collections?

Living in Amsterdam has showed me how to use my theatrical style and transfer it into a commercial approach. My Stretch to Fit collection wasn't as theatrical and expressive perhaps as I normally am - it focused more on the detail and expression through print and surface manipulation. With my illustrations I try and stay as flamboyant and playful as possible. I love to over-exaggerate and create characters on a page.

As a young designer who has already worked for the likes of Michael Kors what do you see for your future?

I can see myself working as a design assistant or designing for my own label. Illustration is something I also enjoy and I’d love to pursue that further. Whatever the future holds, it’s going to be creative. 

 


 

Daisy Azis

Daisy Azis, a 22 year old costume design graduate has sent us these shots of her romantic, gothic and rather whimsical costumes based on Angela Carter's short fiction piece, The Bloody Chamber. The costumes incorporated wooden sculpture, wire floral headpieces, underwired hooped skirts and beautifully embroidered corset detail.  Fancy a look at some more of Daisy's designs?

 


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